Butch Young, who transformed Meade High into a perennial powerhouse in boys basketball, died this week at the age of 80.
Young, one of only three boys basketball coaches in Anne Arundel County history to surpass 500 victories, succumbed on Tuesday morning due to complications from dementia. Barbara Young said her husband of 53 years battled bladder cancer five years ago and believes the extensive chemotherapy he received at the time contributed to his decline.
"Butch was a great basketball coach, a great person and a great friend. Im very sad about Butchs passing and am going to miss him dearly," said former Glen Burnie head coach Terry Bogle, who was close friends with Young for more than four decades. Young compiled an overall career record of 507-321 in 36 seasons as a head coach in Anne Arundel County, first at Severna Park then Meade. Athletic director Jerry Mears hired Young to serve as boys basketball coach when Meade High opened in 1977. The longtime Linthicum resident would serve 26 years in the post and amass an impressive mark of 421-201 at the school located off Route 175 adjacent to the Fort Meade army base.
Meade was immediately successful under Young, posting a 20-5 record and capturing the county championship in its inaugural season of 1977-78. The Mustangs enjoyed 15 winning seasons with Young at the helm, claiming a total of eight county crowns.
Young led Meade to Class 4A East Region championships in 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2000. The Mustangs advanced to the state championship game in 1993 but lost in the semifinals on the other four occasions.
"I absolutely loved Coach Young. Not only was he a great coach, but he always treated people in a first-class way," said Danny Sancomb, a key member of the 1993 squad that lost to Largo in the Class 4A finals.
"Coach Young went above and beyond the call of duty as a coach. He loved all his players and not many people know all the little things he did for them," Sancomb added. "It was a common occurrence for Coach Young to give players rides to and from practice when they had no other means of transportation."
Sancomb became a basketball coach himself, due largely to the influence of Young. The Severn native led Wheeling Jesuit to 216 wins and three NCAA Tournament berths in 11 years as head coach and currently holds the same position at the California University of Pennsylvania.
"I stayed in close contact with Coach Young on a regular basis ever since I graduated from Meade," Sancomb said. "Coach Young had a great mind for basketball, and I sought his advice and guidance right up until he passed away."
Sancomb and his family often spent time with Butch and Barbara Young at their home at Deep Creek Lake. Whenever Wheeling Jesuit made the NCAA Tournament, Young would drive to wherever the team played to catch the game. Sancomb routinely attended the Maryland state tournament at Cole Field House and Xfinity Center for recruiting purposes and always sat in the stands alongside Young.
"Coach Young loved to watch basketball and talk basketball," Sancomb said.
Naturally, Sancomb has adopted many of the principles and philosophies Young espoused, such as an unwavering commitment to man-to-man defense along with an ability to work with any type of player.
"Always playing hard and being physical was something Coach Young really emphasized. Coach really understood the importance of conditioning and that was a hallmark of Meade basketball," Sancomb said. "I thought one of Coach Youngs great attributes was that he allowed players to have personalities. He let players be individuals while making sure they stayed within the team concept."
Great Athlete, Great Coach
Young was a legendary schoolboy athlete at Valley High in Lonaconing, Maryland starring in soccer, basketball and baseball. The 1957 graduate led Valley High to two state championships in basketball before moving on to Frostburg State.
Young was a four-year standout in soccer and basketball at Frostburg, playing varsity baseball as a senior after his commitments to the other two sports had ceased. He was a two-time All-South selection in soccer and at one point ranked second on the schools all-time scoring list.
A point guard in basketball, Young scored 740 career points for the Frostburg basketball team and at one point ranked 11th in school history in that category. He was inducted into the Frostburg State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975.
Butch and Barbara Young met as college freshman and thus began a lifelong romance. They moved to Anne Arundel County shortly after graduating from Frostburg in 1961 to pursue teaching careers.
Butch Youngs first job was at Brooklyn Park High, where he served as head coach of boys soccer and assistant boys basketball coach under Denny Shuck. He transferred to Severna Park High and spent a decade there as head coach of both boys basketball and boys lacrosse.
"Butch had never played lacrosse and didnt know much about the sport, but coaching lacrosse was a condition of being hired to coach basketball," said Barbara Young, who spent 50 years teaching at Andover High then North County High.
Young quickly realized that lacrosse was very similar to basketball in many respects and wound up leading some of the finest teams in Severna Park history. Barbara Young said her husband treasured the lacrosse sticks he was presented to commemorate outstanding seasons, such as when the Falcons went 9-1 in 1972.
"I really enjoyed coaching lacrosse and we had some outstanding players when I was at Severna Park," Young once told The Capital. "We won 29 of 30 games at one point. You can look it up." Young compiled an 86-120 record as basketball coach at Severna Park. His best team featured some of the finest players in school history Maurice Jennings (Morgan State), Jimmy Meade (Frostburg), Jimmy Gorman (Morgan State), Wayne Villano and Eric Johnson. That unit captured a county championship and was ranked No. 4 in the Baltimore-metro area during the 1973-74 season.
"Butch was a great mentor to me personally and definitely knew the game of basketball," Jennings said. "Ill always remember that Butch did not see black or white at a time when a lot of people still did. He wanted the very best players and did not care one bit about color."
Young was inducted into the Severna Park High Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Meade would wind up serving as Youngs top assistant throughout his tenure at Meade High.
"Butch was definitely a mans man. He was tough and no-nonsense, but also had a caring and compassionate side," Meade said. "Back when I was at Severna Park as a player, I remember that Butch pushed us to the limit. He was never going to let anyone outwork us."
As an assistant, Meade saw how Young looked after all his basketball players, routinely checking to make sure they were doing okay in school and asking if things were alright at home.
"Butch believed that good things happen to good people. Thats why he insisted on the players and assistants being good people," Meade said. "At the beginning of the season, Butch always addressed the team and told the players they needed to represent the school, the program and themselves in an upright manner."
Building a Powerhouse
Mears actively recruited Young to become the first basketball coach at Meade and that meant something to the man. Young, who moved to Linthicum in 1978, liked the idea of coaching and teaching at a school closer to his home, and thought Meade had great potential as a basketball school.
That assessment proved right on target as Young was fortunate to have a ton of talent throughout his tenure at Meade. Denard Montgomery, a 6-foot-9 center who would enjoy an outstanding collegiate career at Delaware, was the programs first true star.
Corey Wallace, who was a multi-year starter at Clemson during one of the most competitive eras of the Atlantic Coast Conference, was a sweet-shooting 6-foot-6 small forward who graduated in 1988 as the schools all-time leading scorer.
Wallace, who was inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, was an integral member of one of the greatest teams in Meade history. Montgomery, Rob Reddick (Howard) and Jay Mouzon (South Carolina State) were also part of that 1987-88 squad that lost to Springbrook in the state semifinals.
Sancomb, an undersized but gritty power forward, went on to a decorated career at Wheeling Jesuit leading all of Division II in scoring with 27 points per game as a senior and finishing with 1,454 career points.
Small forward Jeff Charles was the Capital Gazette Newspapers Player of the Year and started for two seasons at Navy. Terrell Ross, an extremely versatile 6-foot-4 talent, was another Capital Gazette Player of the Year and wound up as the starting point guard at Texas.
John Brady is the all-time winningest coach in Anne Arundel County boys basketball history with a remarkable career record of 772-173 (.816 winning percentage) compiled during a 39-year tenure at Annapolis High. Tom Albright stands second with a 550-352 record in 39 seasons at Southern High.
Annapolis and Meade routinely met in the Class 4A East Region championship game with Brady and Young matching wits many, many times over the years. When Meade dedicated Butch Young Court at Jerry Mears Gymnasium in December 2013, Brady praised his longtime rival.
"You better have been prepared to play against any team that Butch Young coached," Brady told The Capital. "I have the highest regard for Butch. He was the first coach at Meade and put them on the map. He established the tradition over there. He is one guy that I have a great deal of respect for."
Bogle began his long friendship with Young in 1967 when both were first-year head coaches at Glen Burnie and Severna Park, respectively. They became close in the early 1980s through a mutual respect for Dick Hart, the Hall of Fame head coach at Andover High.
Those three men often attended the college basketball Final Four together, while later in life Terry and Kay Bogle would vacation with Butch and Barbara Young in Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and elsewhere.
Bogle said he never had to scout Meade because he knew Young wasnt changing anything.
"Butch believed firmly in man-to-man defense and up-tempo basketball. He wasnt going to play zone or run methodical half-court offense," Bogle said. "I thought Butch was kind of ahead of his time in terms of spreading the floor to create isolation. He always had great athletes and developed a dribble-drive and kick type of offense.
"Thats not to say that Butch wasnt a stickler for fundamentals. You could be sure his teams were going to play the game the right way," Bogle added. "Butch did an outstanding job of developing and preparing players for college."
Bogle chuckled when recalling how he invited Butch and Barbara Young to stay at his home while theirs was being renovated. "They stayed for six months and nine days," he said.
However, the Youngs more than repaid the favor by inviting the Bogles to spend time at their vacation home at Deep Creek Lake. Bogle treasures those times along with the many conversations over a few beers at Kauffmans Tavern following Friday night basketball games.
"Butch was all business when it came to coaching, but hed loosen up over a few beers," Bogle said. "Butch was a great storyteller and loved talking about old times. He especially enjoyed talking about his great teams. He was very proud of all those former players that went on to be successful in life."
Bogle rushed to Baltimore Washington Medical Center on Tuesday morning upon learning Young was fading. He arrived 10 minutes after his friend was pronounced dead.
Mike Rudd, entering his 24th season as head coach at Glen Burnie, considers Bogle and Young his two true mentors. As a young coach, he sought their counsel and that continued even after Rudd became the dean of Anne Arundel County boys basketball coaches.
"I could always go to those two with any problem or issue. I treated them like a book full of knowledge since they had so much experience," Rudd said. "I knew I could call Butch at 11:30 at night on game nights because he would be awake, too. It wasnt just basketball, either. If I was down about something, he would pick me up."
Rudd had great respect for Young as an opponent, stating that "any team Butch coached was going to be very organized, super prepared and played extremely hard."
Rudd noted that Young never had cable television or even a computer. When Rudd told Young he could buy tickets to a big Glen Burnie-Meade basketball game online, the old coach had no idea what he was talking about.
"Butch was a classic just a real fun guy to be around," said Rudd, who often ran into Young at Pappas for the Wednesday night crab cake special. "Butch was a winner in every sense of the word, but also a very humble person. You would never know he won more than 500 games." In addition to his beloved wife Barbara, he is survived by his loving brother, Daniel Eugene Young and his wife, Florence; dear nephews, Shawn and Mark Young; loving great-nephews, Adam and Andrew Young; and his beloved cousins, Donald Cline and his wife, Faith, Zachary and Dakota Cline. He was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Aleda Young; and his siblings, Peggy and Gerald.
Visitation for Young will be held on Sunday from 3-5 PM at Singleton Funeral & Cremation Services in Glen Burnie. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, 11 AM, at St. Johns Lutheran Church, 300 West Maple Road, Linthicum, with a one-hour visitation beforehand.
Young will be interred at Rest Haven Cemetery in Hagerstown with a visitation from 12-1 PM, followed by a 1 PM service before burial. Family will receive friends for food and fellowship following interment at Rest Haven Funeral Home.